Measure The Time Taken – Anna Friz

These three were pieces created as part of an ongoing exploration about the perception and standardization of time through time keeping and recording, and radio. They explore the continuous, irregular present, suspended and stretched through habit and drift, and measured against the Futurist dream of time overcome.

* These pieces are best heard on headphones *

1. Uncoordinated Universal Time

I have spent years listening to and sampling that curious device, the cesium clock (or atomic time), broadcast on shortwave radio around the world and currently the basis for coordinated universal time on all wireless and networked devices. The first time I heard it was at CiTR radio, a campus/community station in Vancouver. The news room had a shortwave radio, and one dull afternoon some of the volunteers found the cesium clock ticking away at 15 ,000 AM, broadcast from Hawaii. I have been sampling this clock every since. Taken together, the relentless ticking, the sometimes overlapping voices intoning the minute and the hour, and the intermittent but rigorously issued tones are an uncanny sonic artifact of mid-century modernity. Here I have taken some liberties to nudge the clock a little off base. Recorded in studio at  Kunstradio Ö1, a weekly radio art program heard on the Austrian national cultural channel, December 2011; remixed May 2012.

2. Wide

This piece is inspired by performer/musician Blixa Bargeld’s comment that his industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten could be described as primarily playing with time. I was also thinking about Laurie Anderson’s question in “Same Time Tomorrow,”, from her 1994 release, “Bright Red/Tightrope“: “Is time long, or is it wide?” I decided to try width on for size, with the help of a sruti box with a broken reed. Recorded in studio at  Kunstradio Ö1, December 2011.

3. The Waltz of the Parking Meters

This is an excerpt from a larger audio art piece created together with Chicago-based sound artist/musician Eric Leonardson, entitled “Dancing Walls Stir the Prairie.”. I am interested in how the institutionalization of time gives rise to specific forms of metering. Of course, the time on the street is rarely synchronized in the end, as the devices, like people, tend to drift.  Recorded at the free103point9 Wave Farm, spring 2007.

Anna Friz is a Canadian sound and radio artist, and media studies scholar. Since 1998 she has created audio art and radiophonic works for international broadcast, installation, or performance in more than 15 countries. She specializes in multi-channel transmission systems for immersive installation and performance, where radio is the source, subject, and medium of the work. She also composes and designs sound for theatre, dance, and film. Recent projects include “Heart As Arena”, for Dana Gingras/ Animals of Distinction, and “Road Movie”, for Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky/ Public Studio.

Anna is currently an FQR post-doctoral fellow in the Sound department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011-2013), and holds a Ph.D. In Communication and Culture from York University, Toronto. She is a transmission artist. Website:


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